IT never should have ended this way.
Kevin White in an Adelaide 36ers uniform? Yuck. It doesn't feel right, but the former Hawks skipper has always been well-attuned to the realities of professional sport.
His first lesson came four years ago when the Kings deemed him surplus to requirements. He got his latest lesson when the Hawks called him into the Snakepit to have the same conversation.
It was a tougher pill to swallow this time around. You can bet he felt let down by the club he bought into with everything he had.
He'd never fit the Sydney mould, but he was a Hawk right down his socks. He was never the most talented player on the roster, but make no mistake, he was its heart and soul.
Often clubs try to spin such decisions as being by "mutual agreement" or the "best for both parties." This was neither and, to his credit, coach Matt Flinn didn't try to pass it off as such, taking ownership of the call in Thursday's Mercury.
People will no doubt disagree, but the rationale of wanting to give the likes of Daniel Grida more time on the floor is hardly irrational. Still, you do suspect there'll be times this season where White's absence will be glaring.
No one fails to see the irony in the fact he's joined the 36ers. His personal battles with Jerome Randle are what most people remember, rightly so.
They were a joy to watch but, for this columnist, there's another moment that stands out when it comes to White. It was 2016 and a Hawks-36ers clash at WEC was hotting up.
Adelaide import Eric Jacobsen had arrived in the league with a reputation as a hardman. There were plenty, certainly in the Hawks camp, who thought a lot of his on-court antics were less hard than cheap.
He was throwing his weight around that night and a number of Hawks had hit the floor. The bigs didn't quite stand up to it but White took matters into his own hands.
When he did, it was Jacobsen who hit the floor... hard. It was hard foul. That was the point and Jacobsen's own medicine tasted bitter. The Hawks were trailing at the time but went on to win the game.
White wore a $1000 fine from the NBL match review panel, but you can bet he'd stump up that cash a hundred times over rather than see his team get pushed around - not in their own house.
It sums White up. Whether it's the big men like Jacobsen or studs like Jerome Randle, Casper Ware or Bryce Cotton, he was always willing to bully the bully.
In his comments regarding White's signing, it's clear Adelaide coach Joey Wright's memory also stretches back that far.
"The bottom line is, we felt like we weren't tough enough last year," Wright told the 36ers website.
"We felt like a lot of guys backed away and backed off and one of those things Kevin White brings is toughness and leadership."
It's a fair summation of what the Hawks have lost.
Like we said from the top, it shouldn't have ended this way. White had made it clear he wanted to finish his career in Wollongong but, he'd be the first to tell you, you rarely get to write your own scripts.
He's also be quick to tell you that the train of professional sport rolls on, with or without you. The Hawks may well do just that without White. We're all hoping that's the case.
Flinn has backed youth and - like all long-term investments - the payoff might be a way down the track. When they do payoff however, it's usually big.
Here's hoping, but it still leaves a pressing question.
The Hawks roster this season is conspicuously young. You can take it as given that sides will come into the Sandpit looking to play the bully. You do wonder: who's going to bully the bullies?
One thing's certain. The likes of Ware and Cotton will come to the Sandpit this season breathing a little easier.